Coronavirus Survivors Reflect 1 Year Later

Two local coronavirus survivors reflect one year later as the virus and symptoms remain. KDKA's Dr. Maria Simbra has more.

Video Transcript

- The pandemic has changed how we conduct our everyday lives. From mask-wearing to the way that we celebrate holidays, things are a lot different than they were just a year ago.

- They certainly are. And this afternoon, we're hearing from two COVID-19 survivors about how the pandemic has changed their lives. Dr. Maria Simbra shares their message, new at 4:00.

MARIA SIMBRA: COVID-19 survivor, Jim Kauffman, has come a long way since his hospitalization in the early days of the pandemic. He was on a ventilator for two weeks.

JIM KAUFFMAN: When I came home, I was having a hard time breathing. Just my steps, I would just be out of breath when I got up the top. I was really weak when I came home.

MARIA SIMBRA: He has ongoing joint pain and mild confusion, but his heart has been fine, and his strength and breathing have improved.

JIM KAUFFMAN: I'm not as short of breath as I was. Overall, I mean, compared to when I see other people in the news and such, I'm blessed. I really-- you know, I'm much better off than so many other people.

MARIA SIMBRA: Having had the illness, he worries people aren't as guarded and careful as they should be.

JIM KAUFFMAN: It's a serious thing, and people just got to understand it. Last time I was [? at the ?] grocery store, people getting way too comfortable. And they had their mask on, but they start crowding around you. We haven't gone out to the grocery store even in the last month or so, because things are getting a little worse.

MARIA SIMBRA: Survivor, Michael Baynes, was hospitalized over the summer, also in intensive care.

MICHAEL BAYNES: It scared you. You know, it scared me. It scared my family. Another friend of mine was hospitalized with it and ended up passing away.

MARIA SIMBRA: He still gets chest pain when he takes a deep breath, and he'll lose his train of thought.

MICHAEL BAYNES: The whole left side of my body is a lot weaker than the right side still. The tremors that were in my left arm, they don't happen as often.

MARIA SIMBRA: He can now go for a walk without a cane.

MICHAEL BAYNES: Still don't have the endurance, but it's getting there.

MARIA SIMBRA: But this former boxer can't do what he used to.

MICHAEL BAYNES: I can't hit the bags. I can't jump rope.

MARIA SIMBRA: Catching it again is in the back of their minds.

JIM KAUFFMAN: I'm not frightened, but I'm just as cautious as somebody should be who never had it.

MICHAEL BAYNES: That is one thing I cannot understand is why people don't want to wear a mask. This is going to be something that's going to be around for a long time. It's not going to go away.

MARIA SIMBRA: As Jim puts it, there are no guarantees. I'm Dr. Maria Simbra KDKA news.